SINGAPORE — The Singapore Archdiocese has announced it will resume Masses with several precautionary measures as the city-state is projected as an example of how to check the fast-spreading coronavirus.
“Sunset and Sunday Masses will resume on March 14 and 15 when all the churches put in place the necessary precautionary measures,” said Archbishop William Goh of Singapore.
Ucanews.com reported precautionary measures taken at 32 parishes under the archdiocese include the installation of thermal scanners and thermometers for temperature screening. Parishes also plan to increase the frequency of church cleaning, reduce the sharing of common items and to continue awareness campaigns on personal hygiene.
The archdiocese suspended all church programs Feb. 14 following the virus outbreak.
Goh’s March 5 circular, however, said the resumption of Masses “is subject to guidelines” from the government’s Ministry of Health. Ucanews.com reported it also asked the sick faithful to stick to watching online Masses that will continue until further notice.
The archdiocesan decision came more than 10 days after the government announced that there were no new cases reported Feb. 23. However, a day after the state announcement, 13 more cases were reported, mostly linked to earlier infection clusters.
The virus hit Singapore in early February, eventually infecting about 160 people. The Ministry of Health reported that 93 had been discharged from hospitals, while the rest are under various stages of treatment, including 10 under intensive care. There have been no deaths from virus infection.
“Singapore is a good example of an all-of-government approach — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s regular videos are helping to explain the risks and reassure people,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization.
Ghebreyesus reportedly lauded Singapore at the daily briefing at the WHO headquarters in Geneva March 10. He also urged other countries to follow Singapore’s example to arrest the outbreak.
Father Stephen Yim, who heads the archdiocesan task force on the outbreak, said it would work hard to minimize risks when churches open their doors to resume public Masses.
“Our Catholic Medical Guild is reviewing developments and following” the directives of the government, he said.
Singapore has about 300,000 Catholics in a population of 5.7 million people.
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